Conquering Disneyworld with 2 young kids (tips and advice)
Whenever we (the Nagas) travel, this momma would always jot down tips and advice (yes, money saving tips included too!!!) especially when travelling with 2 young kids. And this momma have to admit (even after travelling around the world with 2 young kids), that the thought of travelling to the happiest place on earth, Disney World was kinda daunting when I first began thinking about it!
So hopefully after ready this blog post, it will put you a little at ease amidst the craziness and stress of Disney planning!
(Disclaimer: I'm not a Disney Pro. I've seen passionate mothers carrying around their thick Disney binder folder with lots of time and effort put into their Disney planning!!!)
Before the trip~
Create a Disney countdown calendar.
This simple yet interactive family activity definitely got us all amped up for our trip. Instead of being bugged by your kids everyday as to "how many days left till Disney???", why not get them to do it instead. Sienna and Skyler were initially fighting as both wanted to write on it but Sienna smartly said "Let's take turns!".
So every morning, they would rush down and do their morning ritual.
Feels like Christmas all over again? Lols.
Prepare a gift package (with all things Disney) and surprise the kids at the hotel...your wallet and Mr. Hubby will thank you for it. Do NOT Pay for Expensive overpriced Souvenirs at the park.
This momma hit up Dollar Tree n Target (Bullseye’s Playground) where they carry a lot of Disney licensed items for just $1 each. Or toys r us for bigger items. I couldn't find Mickey mouse ears (sold at party stores) in time and Mr. Hubby wasn't too keen on it anyways. This surprise gift from "Mickey and friends" was a hit with Sienna and Skyler!!! They were shocked n speechless... now we the parents are debating on when to spill the beans ???
Another alternative is to hit up the Disney outlets located throughout Orlando n have ur kids pick out their own gifts. Let them shop within their given budgets ... the prices there are definitely cheaper than in the parks!
If possible, please DO go during NON peak season!!!
I cannot stress this enough. It will make or break your trip.
Our trip couldn't be any better... lines were short, kids were not cranky, parents were sweat-less = happiest place on earth!
Use discounted Disney gift cards for everything Disney!
We saved a little by using Disney gift cards (bought them at Sam's club at a discounted price) to purchase our park tickets. You can save A LOT by using Disney Gift Cards if you are staying at a Disney resort + park tickets. You can even use it to pay for food, drinks, souvenirs, etc...
Do NOT ever buy park hopper tickets especially when you have young kids with you!
Your wallets will thank me. I'm glad we didn't go with this option as travelling from one park to another just takes too long. Plus, finishing 1 park is quite impossible even though we went during non peak season.
Plan a Break Day
I'm glad we did. And our legs n sanity thanked us for that! I'm not sure how others can do 3-5 days nonstop walking at Disney...we headed to Disney springs n boardwalk on this "break" day and took it easy.
If you are staying at a non Disney/offsite hotel, plan to leave offsite at least 1hr before park opens as you need to take the monorail or ferry if going to magic kingdom (Or bus to Hollywood studio) from the Ticketing and Transportation center.
Must have -> My Disney App.
NEVER EVER venture out without this app.
This app is everything!!! Mr. Hubby did everything on this app from booking and changing fast passes, checking wait times, show times, height restriction, level of intensity, interactive map, toilets, restaurants menu, etc!
Do NOT Wait to Make FastPass Reservations as the popular rides get taken up very fast... complete your 3 fast passes early on during the day so u can get more FastPasses!!!
Use the Rider Switch Pass or Baby Swap AND take advantage of single rider lines for some rides. Please google up these if interested but we didn't have to use it this trip!
Celebration Button (birthday, 1st time)
Be sure to get your free celebration button when you check in at a Disney resort or from the ticketing booth in the park and sometimes you’ll get a little extra “magic” from cast members in the park or at other resorts! Skyler felt like a VIP with his birthday button. He was greeted with birthday wishes (and given extra stickers) not only by Disney staff but also by strangers!
Disney Stickers ~> these are handed out by the Disney staff scattered all throughout.
Be sure to ask from them. My kids were thrilled to score some to take home!
Do NOT Pay for Drinks & Food/Snacks in the Park
Many 1st timer might not know this but you can bring your own food/snacks n drinks into the park! You can refill your water bottles at water fountains, food kiosks or in restaurants throughout the day to avoid the cost of bottled water.
I made sure to freeze water bottles, juices, ice pack and kept it with items that needed to be kept cool... and we had cold water to drink while it melted/defrosted. We brought oranges & grapes (as it kept the kids hydrated while snacking healthily) and apples (easy to transport without going bad in the heat)
Instead of purchasing the expensive Memory Maker or PhotoPass service where professional Disney photographers (scattered everywhere) are ever so ready to take your perfect picturesque picture, consider asking them to take a photo of you and your family with your own device. Yes, you heard me right and it is FREE!
Each park has at least one dedicated baby center which has lots of changing tables (way better than a public restroom!), private rooms with rocking chairs for nursing babies, and lots of baby supplies for sale (ran out of diapers…the baby center can help!). That said, it’s not just a great place for babies. Each baby center has a room with a television playing Disney movies and small chairs – perfect for little people who might just need a break from the crowds or the Florida heat. And there are water coolers where you can fill up with cold water for the whole family (for free!)
Parade, fireworks and Cinderella castle show
Be sure to arrive at least an hour before the show and reserve/"chope" your seats with your belongings n stroller while one parent can bring the kids on the rides or just sit down and have snack time. We rewarded the kids with Mickey mouse ears ice cream.
Stroller (tag with a bright ribbon).
If your kids are at a walking age (like ours), insist to bring 1 stroller!!! THIS IS A MUST or you end up carrying EVERYTHING!!!
Our stroller acted as a "double" stroller with both Sienna Skyler sitting together. Sienna napped in it at the end of each day while waiting for our hotel shuttle n Skyler napped on daddy! The stroller was also a storage for us to put ALL of our stuff so we could be hands FREE...
We didn't tag our stroller with a bright colored ribbon as ours already has 3 yellow hanging clips that can be easily recognizable. But Mr. Hubby said even in the midst of the multitude of strollers, it was hard to spot ours. (Do note that Disney staff will constantly move your stroller to reorganize the chaos). He came up with a brilliant thought, at the end of our last day ~> get a Disney balloon and hang it on your stroller, you can spot it from afar! Unless there's many others that do it after reading this... then it wouldn't be brilliant anymore... lols!
This is a MUST have especially for young kids...
We've heard many horror stories of friends and family where their kids got lost in the midst of the crowd.
When I did my research, it was mentioned in other blogs that the information center provided ID tags but we called to ask and found out they don't (anymore)! So we prepared lanyards for our kids with our contact info. But we ended up not using it as it might be a safety hazard going on the rides and troublesome for the kids to hang it on their necks all day long. This momma got a brilliant idea to write our phone number behind their Disney buttons! And we rehearsed with our kids in case they get lost on what to do!
We skipped bringing ponchos n only brought 1 umbrella... we figured if it rains, everyone will be taking shelter anyways!
The umbrella was actually for me to take shelter from the hot sun!
Yes, I don't turn red but turn dark skinned really fast... n once I turn black, it's hard to go back! Lols...
But I ended up not using it much coz as usual I was the only crazy Asian lady carrying an umbrella... n there were too many ppl, and risked poking other ppl! (Don't wanna get sued, hehehe)
Most places were sheltered...and our lines were considered short coz we went during non peak season.
Comfortable shoes n flip flops in case our shoes get wet from rain and rides.
Not to worry, all of our rides ended up completely dry!
Towards the end of the day (fireworks show and fantasmik) we did a quick change into our flip flops and boy was our toes dancing n breathing happily!
Yes. I wore sports shoes which went against my style. Lols! FYI, Malaysians only wear sports shoes for SPORTS/GYM...but comfort over style wins this time!!!
Change of clothes for kids.
I remember as a kid, I rode on a ride at Disneyland and got all drenched.
I cried as it felt uncomfortable and my parents had to get me new Disney clothes! Lols...***spoilt*** the California sun could have dried me up in no time.
We skipped bringing a change of clothes as our stroller were packed with food, snacks, drinks, jackets, flip flops, umbrella, etc...
Jacket/sweater for night time.
None of the research I did prior to the trip mentioned anything about this. It does get chilly and windy at night!!! Other ladies were shivering in their summer shorts and sleeveless. And on our 2nd day at Disney, we were wearing it at 9am!!! Even though it got pretty hot in the afternoon (as high as 90F).
Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, portable fan, wet wipes, hand sanitizer
We skipped the hats especially since the kids don't do well in it and the parents don't look good in it. Hahaha...and we skipped the fan too coz in practicality, we couldn't be riding on rides with it. Sunglasses can be hung or kept in our pockets!
Remember to reapply sunscreen after every few hours. This momma got too lost in "la la land" all things Disney that it slipped my mind. We ended up with burnt skin!
bandaid, lip balm (just in case blisters on feet or lips).
But Disney is so well prepared that they have first aid rooms and staff scattered everywhere ever so ready to offer help!
Autograph books when meeting Disney characters!
Got this prepared but this mom brain left it in the hotel room...
I hope this list will get you a little "prepared" to conquer the happiest place on earth!
Do leave a comment in this blog post on what other tips you have.
I'm sure I just barely covered the tip of the iceberg.
Last but not least, enjoy Disney world and as my papa said, "Be a kid again!!!"
We LOVED it so much especially the kids. They didn't wanna go home!
Sienna told us (just a few days before heading to Florida) that she would like to go "again" when she turns 10! Lols...
SiennaSkyler kept telling us how much they love Disney n retelling their Disney experience.
Part 2 of this Disney blog is up where I share our "5 days 4 nights" Disney itinerary in detail. Click here!